Ninth Circuit Issues Ruling in Arakaki vs. Lingle-Plantiffs Challenged the Office of Hawaiian Affairs' Ability to Use Taxpayer Funds for Native Hawaiian-Only Programs

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The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ panel decision on ”’Arakaki v. Lingle”’ issued on Friday, February 9, 2007, says that in view of the ”’Daimler-Chrysler”’ decision, “it appears to us that there are no plaintiffs who have standing to challenge the Office of Hawaiian Affairs funding” but “we are unwilling to make that final judgment on this record’. “Accordingly, we remand to the district for further proceedings.”

This leaves the case about where it was after the 2005 decision of the Ninth Circuit and the Supreme Court’s ”’Daimler-Chrysler”’ decision in 2006.


Plaintiffs still maintain they have standing as state taxpayers because, unlike the Ohio taxpayers in Daimler-Chrysler, the Arakaki plaintiffs suffer an injury different from Hawaii taxpayers generally.

The Arakaki plaintiffs are taxed to support racial discrimination against themselves. Taxpayers of the favored degree of Hawaiian ancestry suffer no such injury because they are eligible for the benefit of their taxes.

So, what’s next? We could again petition the Supreme Court for certiorari or just wait until the case is remanded to the District Court and proceed there, possibly with amendments; or we could file a new suit.

I continue to think we will ultimately prevail.

Ultimately in Hawaii we all be entitled to play the game by the same rules.

”’Reach H. William Burgess in Honolulu, Hawaii, via email at”’